Sean's advice for the 2013 archetype round


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Note that I'll vote for someone who's got incredibly awesome ideas but needs some formatting help over the reverse any day of the week, and I suspect I'm far from alone in that regard.

So don't obsess about format to the exclusion of actually having something interesting to write about :)

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gbonehead wrote:

Note that I'll vote for someone who's got incredibly awesome ideas but needs some formatting help over the reverse any day of the week, and I suspect I'm far from alone in that regard.

So don't obsess about format to the exclusion of actually having something interesting to write about :)

This, reiterated dozens of times. Mojo is the part that can't be taught. Templating can be taught easily. This is what guides my voting on the items and will guide my voting in subsequent rounds. I am going to pick something with the balls to reach outside the box over something technically proficient but tame every single time.

The winners, of course will be the ones who can do both equally well at the same time.

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Hi all

Sharing a quick tip that I have found extremely useful in designing my archetype, so I thought you all might like to try it if you are not already doing so.

Go to the PRD and find the page your class you are working with is on.
Copy and paste the whole thing into a word processor of your choice.
In a separate window, open your archetype design...

Update the class skills and skill ranks per level to match your archetype changes, and change all occurrences of class name to your archetype name.

Paste the ability names over the replaced abilities in the progression table - this acts a double check that when you say "At nth level..." that you are quoting the correct level AND that you are replacing the correct ability.

Now go to the replaced ability. Replace it all with correctly formatted new ability it is being replaced with.

Do this for all your ability swaps.

Now the fun bit

Print it off.

Read it - you will soon realise if it doesn't sound or feel like a cohesive design.

Now the really fun bit...

Take it with you to your gaming review buddies, preferably ones who don't know or play the class you changed.

Ask them to spot which abilities you wrote among the original abilities remaining. If you can't do it, you win :)

If they don't spot the skill changes or mention any as out of place, you win :)

I did this before playtesting - it's very enlightening - and really shows if your writing style is not flowing with that in the original rule books :)

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Anthony Adam wrote:
Paste the ability names over the replaced abilities in the progression table - this acts a double check that when you say "At nth level..." that you are quoting the correct level AND that you are replacing the correct ability.

Class features don't need to be replaced on a 1 for 1 basis. There are quite a few that replace 1 feature with 2. Or if you are getting rid of an important feature, 2 or more lesser features take its place. A few archetypes change the level at which features are gained by modifying their power.

Contributor

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:
Anthony Adam wrote:
Paste the ability names over the replaced abilities in the progression table - this acts a double check that when you say "At nth level..." that you are quoting the correct level AND that you are replacing the correct ability.
Class features don't need to be replaced on a 1 for 1 basis. There are quite a few that replace 1 feature with 2. Or if you are getting rid of an important feature, 2 or more lesser features take its place. A few archetypes change the level at which features are gained by modifying their power.

My 2 cp:

Sean's advice directly and unavoidably says to trade one for one. I know there are tons of archetypes that break this rule, but I would care to wager that 1-for-2 trades are more likely to draw skepticism from the judges and audience alike, especially if the trade isn't perceived to be even. Its much easier to trade on and one-for-one basis, and being able to trade 1-for-2 doesn't necessarily assure you're Superstar material.

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Alexander Augunas wrote:
Its much easier to trade on and one-for-one basis, and being able to trade 1-for-2 doesn't necessarily assure you're Superstar material.

Although if you can pull it off, I'd say it's a fairly strong indicator.

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I love that in many of the advice threads they say something like, "Don't never, ever do this, it's far too risky" followed by an "Unless you can pull it off, then do it".

:P

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There is no reason why you can't delete/replace two items and paste in one, I was just suggesting a method that can help gauge the integrity of the archetype.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Locke1520

Doing something like Anthony suggests is probably a good idea.

I myself use a spreadsheet with the progression table copy/pasted in then I add a column for the new abilities so I can side by side, view my alterations and eyeball the balance. I then use my new progression chart to write the text of my new archetype.

Playtesting also doesn't hurt if you have time.

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So what about abilities that simply add more options to a choice? For example, some archetypes add spells to a spell list, and the Crypt Breaker alchemist adds some rogue talents to the list of available discoveries. How are things like that balanced? Do they need to be, since the options still have to be selected when learning new spells/choosing new discoveries, etc.?

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I think if you take the stance that if you are adding something, you take something away, you won't endanger crossing the line of "too much for free".

In the case of spells, is it a replacement list? Are there any spells in the normal list that don't theme with the archetype that could be removed from the base spell list to "pay" for the additions?

In short, always keep your eye on the game balance as much as you can - you can see this continually through Sean's advice - swapping one for one, like power for like power and so on.

I hope that helps some.

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Anthony Adam wrote:

I think if you take the stance that if you are adding something, you take something away, you won't endanger crossing the line of "too much for free".

In the case of spells, is it a replacement list? Are there any spells in the normal list that don't theme with the archetype that could be removed from the base spell list to "pay" for the additions?

In short, always keep your eye on the game balance as much as you can - you can see this continually through Sean's advice - swapping one for one, like power for like power and so on.

I hope that helps some.

I am interested in this - as in, what is the appropriate offset for adding a particularly useful, on-point spell to a character's spell list?

Like, 'I know that a character with this concept will want to cast this spell, but it isn't on the usual spell list.' Is adding that spell to the spell list worth a feat? half a feat? a +1 attack bonus?

This is one of those things where I'm sure a fair exchange is out there, but I fear looking for examples in printed materials because so many, we're warned, aren't to be followed...

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7 aka Monkster

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The single best piece of advice I can give on writing up your archetype, based on my own experience last year is… Do it. Do it Now. (Wow – just heard Arnold Schwarzenegger’s voice in my head as I typed that…)

Meaning – if you are really serious about this contest (and if you wish to be considered an RPG Superstar, you need to be), don’t let the “Well, I’m sure there are 32 better entries than mine in all these 1st round submissions, so I don’t have to take this seriously” thinking get to you. I did.

Last year, I put a half-assed round two entry together in the last week prior to the announcement of 1st round winners, mostly just to play with it. I was not expecting to actually advance to the next round – imagine my surprise when my item was picked! Unfortunately, when the round one winners were named I was out of town, and away from all my books (and I didn’t even bring a copy of my draft with me), and had a crappy internet connection at the hotel I was at, so I had to last-minute put together what I remembered, plus finish the entry I should have spent WAY more time reading, rereading, play testing my entry with friends, double-checking source material to see if it fit/was accurate, etc…

And it showed. I didn’t make it to round 3 – and though the comments on my round 2 submission were scathing, they were illuminating. Once I finished sulking in the corner licking my wounds, I went back to my submission – and saw that:

1.) The critiques, though occasionally harsh, had real merit, and:
2.) Had I put a little more time and effort in, I would have likely caught those mistakes myself – or my friends (who would have been kinder, I hope) would have for me.

I think my submission last year had real potential, had I done my best – which I most certainly hadn’t. Hopefully, I’ve learned my lesson – this year, I’m working on my 2nd (and 3rd round) submissions now. Even if I don’t progress, it’s valuable experience, they might come in handy for my own homegrown game(s), and who knows? Perhaps the Gods of Fortune will shine upon me once again…

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Greg Monk wrote:
... – this year, I’m working on my 2nd (and 3rd round) submissions now. ...

Amen. I am hoping to do the "put it away for a week" with round 2 work in the next day or so.

Then I can start on the round 3 that scares me most of all - even with over 25 years of playing and gm'ing, I have yet to create my own monster - other than the 19 and 22 year old ones, but they don't count :)

Round 3, should I manage to get that far, is most likely my proverbial "head meet brick wall" round. So, lots and lots of reading and trying it out this weekend for me, just to get the formats into my template fu brain for starters.

I have a rough encounter sketch or three :) so am happy about that round.

And I have an adventure proposal also in very rough draft form pending any bombshell twists of course.

I will take this opportunity to wish every entrant well as we have just a few days now till that week of non voting suspended animation stage where our items come fully into the judges critical analysis.

So best of luck to all.

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Anthony Adam wrote:


Then I can start on the round 3 that scares me most of all - even with over 25 years of playing and gm'ing, I have yet to create my own monster - other than the 19 and 22 year old ones, but they don't count :)

Round 3 scares me, but not too much. I've got some ideas for monsters, and I've played around creating a few. I am just more worried that there is something out there that is "already done" for the ideas I have. In fact, that is my biggest fear overall is that everything I'm putting down (including 1st round) is already done and I'm just not well-versed enough in the past to know it!

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I think I've got my archetype pretty well worked out. That means I can get back to work on my third PFS Quest submission...

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RainyDayNinja wrote:
I think I've got my archetype pretty well worked out. That means I can get back to work on my third PFS Quest submission...

Ohh, nice!

Lantern Lodge

For R3, I just need to get away from what I have done. I have been heavily working on my Reaplings but they're a collection, not suitable to make just one as you would be missing to much. Afraid they are coloring my ideas to much.Oh, idea! Nevermind on this, though wondering if it should be built on the almost a template I made.

R2, I just need to decide if I should pick the inspired concept that isn't tied to the river kingdoms but would be found there in great number, or the not so inspiring concept based on something I saw in the wiki.

Hmmm, inspired? Or relevant? Decisions, decisions.

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He he, the rules will answer that right near the start for you :)

And, in case anyone is wondering, 449 words! It fits! Just.

Now to put it aside and learn all about monster creation... this should be fun >.<

Sczarni RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9

Quick question about formatting:

In the example submission provided the colons are in bold, but the format shows the colons outside of the bolded text. Should we follow the format or the example submission?

Format Example
Ability Name (Ex, Sp, or Su):

Submission Example
Country Cooking (Su):

Comparison
:
:

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Phloid

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

Quick question about formatting:

In the example submission provided the colons are in bold, but the format shows the colons outside of the bolded text. Should we follow the format or the example submission?

I totally would not have noticed that. I have just assumed the colons were bolded, but they are not. Not in the PSRD, nor in the print books. My guess is they want the colons to NOT be bold, but I'm sure they will answer this week.

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Anthony Adam wrote:
Then I can start on the round 3 that scares me most of all - even with over 25 years of playing and gm'ing, I have yet to create my own monster - other than the 19 and 22 year old ones, but they don't count :)

Oh, they count, just not here. You've had, and still are having to, pay for them, after all.

And I completely agree on the Round 3 fears. I don't know why, but building a monster ... *shudder*

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Phloid wrote:
I totally would not have noticed that. I have just assumed the colons were bolded, but they are not. Not in the PSRD, nor in the print books. My guess is they want the colons to NOT be bold, but I'm sure they will answer this week.

I also noticed this and I suspect you have the right answer.

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The answer is in the rules by way of the template provided. Follow that and you can't get dinged as that is the published rules template.

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It's a pity that the archetype is limited to River Kingdoms; I've spent the year preparing and polishing a Golarion archetype - it just happens to be for a different region entirely. On the plus-side I get to make another archetype, which is fun, but on the other hand I really would've liked to submit an item that I've invested time in and feel proud of.

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I've always wondered that for my various publications. Guess it's nice to finally have an answer.

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LoreKeeper wrote:
It's a pity that the archetype is limited to River Kingdoms; I've spent the year preparing and polishing a Golarion archetype - it just happens to be for a different region entirely. On the plus-side I get to make another archetype, which is fun, but on the other hand I really would've liked to submit an item that I've invested time in and feel proud of.

Nothing prevents you from submitting it to one of the publishers anyway, you know.

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LoreKeeper wrote:
It's a pity that the archetype is limited to River Kingdoms; I've spent the year preparing and polishing a Golarion archetype - it just happens to be for a different region entirely. On the plus-side I get to make another archetype, which is fun, but on the other hand I really would've liked to submit an item that I've invested time in and feel proud of.

I feel your pain. I, too had an archetype ready, but won't fit due to the "twist".

But I do seem to remember reading somewhere on these threads (and it makes sense to me) that one of the goals of this contest is to find folks who can not only write well, but do so with a very limited timeline, as in the "real world" of publishing, a writer might get a request for some awesome writing goodness in a hurry, and won't have that whole lovely year to perfect their prose.

In fact, I think that might be one of the reasons for the "twist" in the first place.

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Phloid wrote:
Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

Quick question about formatting:

In the example submission provided the colons are in bold, but the format shows the colons outside of the bolded text. Should we follow the format or the example submission?

I totally would not have noticed that. I have just assumed the colons were bolded, but they are not. Not in the PSRD, nor in the print books. My guess is they want the colons to NOT be bold, but I'm sure they will answer this week.

I certainly wouldn't want MY colon to be bold...

Yup. There goes that 12 year old inside me again.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Thomas LeBlanc wrote:

Quick question about formatting:

In the example submission provided the colons are in bold, but the format shows the colons outside of the bolded text. Should we follow the format or the example submission?

Not-bold is correct. If you use the template, your submission will be formatted correctly (the boldface colon in the template won't appear when you paste your submission into the entry box, as the colon is outside the bold tag).

I'll get the example submission fixed.

Thanks!

Contributor

Here's a strange question. What is the proper way to word an increase in a penalty? I'll make an example using the cavalier's challenge.

Challenging a foe requires much of the cavalier's concentration. The cavalier takes a –2 penalty to his Armor Class, except against attacks made by the target of his challenge.

Let's say I want the penalty to become a total of -4. How exactly would I word that?

At Xth level, a cavalier becomes more focused on his challenged target, leaving himself more vulnerable to the attacks of others. The penalty to AC from attacks other than those made by the target of his challenge increase by 2, for a total of -4.

OR

At Xth level, a cavalier becomes more focused on his challenged target, leaving himself more vulnerable to the attacks of others. The penalty to AC from attacks other than those made by the target of his challenge increase by -2, for a total of -4.

It's a really weird thing I'm trying to figure out for a potential archetype submission.

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How about "increases from -2 to -4"?

Edited (after Sean's post) to add: Of course, this assumes that nothing else has modified the penalty. I guess it could also be done this way:

"The cavalier takes an additional -2 penalty to AC (for a total of -4) from attacks other than those..."

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

Do it like Ariax said.

Contributor

Great, thanks!

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16 , Star Voter Season 6

look at the wording for the increasing penalty associated with power-attack or combat-expertise etc.

RPG Superstar 2014 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka michaeljpatrick

In some ways this round is way harder to me than the first (as it should be).

I'm not really a huge fan of archetypes. I can see the appeal, but many of the options available could have been more a matter of role-playing choices rather than power/ability choices. But, a job's a job, and if I'm to be a freelance game designer I gotta suck it up and write what is requested of me. I've already thrown out a half-dozen ideas for this round and now I have one that I think can work. I haven't knocked my own socks off just yet, but I'm getting there I hope.

The funny thing I've been thinking about is that getting into the top thirty two means being better than (estimating) 98-99% of all other entrants. But then for the next few rounds one only needs to be better than 50%. So (assuming I make it into the top 32) as long as I write up an archetype that is better than sixteen of the top thirty two I can move on to the next few rounds where I feel the challenges play more to my strengths than round 2 does.

Well, come Tuesday this could be all academic.

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michaeljpatrick wrote:

But then for the next few rounds one only needs to be better than 50%. So (assuming I make it into the top 32) as long as I write up an archetype that is better than sixteen of the top thirty two I can move on to the next few rounds where I feel the challenges play more to my strengths than round 2 does.

Well, come Tuesday this could be all academic.

I can see what you mean, my take on it is if I make top 32, I want to be a front runner every round and get noticed. That way, even if I don't win, I may still end up on the "give this guy a shot" freelancing lists.

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Anthony Adam wrote:
...my take on it is if I make top 32, I want to be a front runner every round and get noticed. That way, even if I don't win, I may still end up on the "give this guy a shot" freelancing lists.

Yes. That is not a bad place to be.

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WHAT! no archetype round this year?


Thank goodness, there's nothing I hate more in a game then classes, which makes designing class varients/archtypes rather difficult.

It is a sign of how much I like the rest of the game that Ill play despite classes, of course, that is only bearable because of multiclassing being allowed.

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Aaron Miller 335 wrote:

WHAT! no archetype round this year?

Yep, read this thread starting here for more info.

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Call me silly but should this thread still be sticky?

If we're not doing an archetype round...

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GM_Solspiral wrote:

Call me silly but should this thread still be sticky?

If we're not doing an archetype round...

It's extremely sticky. It's taken awhile to get unstuck!

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

There is no archetype round for RPG Superstar 2014.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8 aka DeathQuaker

Sean K Reynolds wrote:
There is no archetype round for RPG Superstar 2014.

Right, which is why people are asking for the thread to be unstickied.

Designer, RPG Superstar Judge

DeathQuaker wrote:
Sean K Reynolds wrote:
There is no archetype round for RPG Superstar 2014.
Right, which is why people are asking for the thread to be unstickied.

Well, I don't want this thread's info to become lost, but I'll change the title to refer to 2013. :)

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Advice for Archetype round. Get ready for 2015.

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That or it's a twist for the encounter round...

"Create a new archetype and apply it to the encounter's main antagonist - the encounter should showcase the archetype at its best in use against the party."

Nah, Sean wouldn't be so mean. I think.

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Or maybe that's the monster twist. Your monster needs to be an archetype that can be applied to another existing monster. O_o

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